After now having read four O’Neill plays, I can say with certainty that Desire Under the Elms has by far been my favorite. The story is definitely the darkest of those I’ve read, but it’s also the one that, in my opinion, resonates most with readers. Set in the 1850s, the story centers on the complicated relationship between an old farmer, his son, and his new, much younger wife. The story is equal parts scandalous and traumatic, complete with a truly tragic ending.
I also had the pleasure of watching the film today, which stars Anthony Perkins, Sophia Loren, and Burl Ives. I have such a crush on Anthony Perkins due to Psycho (yeah, I realize that’s kind of wrong), and it was really fun to see him in a different role. Sophia Loren lives up to her reputation as a timeless beauty, and Burl Ives successfully completes this great cast. If you’ve got the time, I totally recommend reading this play and watching the film adaptation. As for me, I’ll be reading my final O’Neill play this weekend, then moving onto other American greats. Happy reading!